Lance Armstrong’s former boss Johan Bruyneel launches social media tirade against UCI president

It’s safe to conclude that David Lappartient isn’t high on Johan Bruyneel’s Christmas card list after the banned team manager effectively called the UCI president a career politician more concerned with selfies than the prosperity of the sport.

Bruyneel’s unvetted personal opinions were posted on Friday evening after Lappartient shared a video of himself riding alongside superstar Tadej Pogačar during a recent trip to Abu Dhabi, where both individuals were at the launch of the partnership between the sport’s governing body and MyWhoosh, the online cycling platform that will sponsor the World Championships for next few years.

Bruyneel, who managed Lance Armstrong during the American’s seven Tour de France victories, and like the American is currently serving a lifetime ban for doping-related offences, took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to share his thoughts on Lappartient.

“He is everywhere, this sacred omnipresent David! The most important thing for him is to be seen alongside important and influential figures, the Pope, President Macron, [the] President of Korea, and his friend Thomas Bach. All with one specific objective: the presidency of the IOC. What many know but no one ever says: he doesn’t really care about cycling,” the Belgian wrote.

Lappartient has been involved in cycling for several decades and became the UCI President back in 2017 and in 2022 he was given a position within the IOC (International Olympic Committee). He won reelection as the UCI precedence that same year after an uncontested affair. In 2023 he was elected as the head of France’s Olympic Committee. He has yet to confirm whether the presidency of the IOC is an ambition on his agenda. His social media presence is certainly a step up on his predecessors in Pat McQuaid and Brian Cookson, with the 50-year-old often using X to showcase his travels and interactions.

“The most omnipresent president of cycling but in the end, what has this gentleman already accomplished? NOTHING!” added Bruyneel. “His personal political career above all, his presidency at the UCI is only a simple step in his political escalation towards the highest level of the IOC. (Save this tweet for later, in a few years I’ll tell you: I told you so!)”

Lappartient supporters would argue that the Frenchman has brought a degree of stability to the sport since his arrival and that growth has followed in several areas, such as women’s cycling, certain — but not all — aspects of race safety, the growth of gravel, e-sports, and improved credibility in the fight against doping.

However, Lappatient has not been without criticism either, with some quarters suggesting that change in several areas has come too slowly and that progress around topics such as race safety, equality, and the economic model of the sport needs addressing. Like all sporting officials at the top, Lappartient has divided opinion at times.

However, for Bruyneel, the root of the issue seems to be personal. In November of last year, the Belgian joined several current pros in criticizing Lappartient’s apparent threats aimed towards cyclo-cross riders who were keen to miss events in the crammed World Cup schedule.

GCN has reached out to the UCI for comment regarding Bruyneel’s social media posts.

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